Enemies and Vengeance

Study Guide

Following through the end of chapter 12, Paul compellingly illustrates what our lives will look like when we genuinely offer them as holy sacrifices. In verses 9–13, he describes how we can actively give of ourselves in relation to others, and verses 14–21 provide a framework for how we should relate to those who oppose us. He reminds us that because of the mercy God has so graciously provided, we can love others without hypocrisy, trust God’s perfect justice when we are offended, and conquer evil by doing good in the world.
  1. Living a life of holy sacrifice means we feel a genuine deficit by the way we give of ourselves. Do you feel insecure in God’s presence, his ability to work in your life, or whether or not he loves you? How could this be tied to the ways and extent you are giving of yourself?

  2. Review the list below of active verbs illustrating what sacrifice looks like when relating to one another . Which of these come naturally for you? Which ones are more difficult? What step of repentance can you take this week to regard others as more important than yourself?

  3. When you, or something you identify with, is questioned or mocked, do you feel an overwhelming need to justify yourself? In those situations, what would it look like for you to make room for God?

Key Points
  • If we don’t feel a genuine deficit in the way we sacrifice our lives, we will always feel insecure in whether God is real, powerful, and if he truly loves us.

  • A life of holy sacrifice is a life lived in love unfeigned, or without hypocrisy. Our relevance and credibility in the world is tethered to whether we actively love others this way.

  • Real love begins with a hatred of what can destroy the beloved.

  • Instead of repaying evil for evil or trying to justify our rightness, we should make room for God, and trust him to bring real and perfect justice.

  • Trusting God sets us free to simply do good, allowing us to play an active part in conquering evil in this world.

List of Verbs (v. 9–13)

Abhorring evil (loving others enough to hate what is destroying them)

Cleaving to good (active)

Esteeming others (preferring their needs above your own)

Burning in the spirit (like kindling on a fire, it must be cultivated on a daily basis)

Serving God

Rejoicing in an eternal hope (one that transcends worldly comforts)

Enduring suffering

Persisting in prayer

Contributing to the needs of others

Pursuing hospitality (create pathways for others to follow God)

Scripture: Romans 12:9-21